Sects, zombies and pandemic at the end of ‘Search Party’, a cult satire that embraces the millennial absurdity

when it started Search Party, back in 2017, we said that it was a reinvention of a certain type of story within the mystery genre, that of Nancy Drew or that of Colombo, better known in Spain. A lot (and at the same time very little) has changed that initial premise throughout its five seasons. In this time, it has maintained the parody around a generation especially vilified even by itself, the millennial, and has closed its plot arc, the inner search for Dory, another New Yorker of lost existence. But each season has unapologetically embraced a different film genre, making the experience of its characters even more insane.

Its last season, in tune with the navel-gazing of its four protagonists, connects the idea of ​​the end of the world with that of the series itself. It is the latest twist in this fiction created by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, which in Spain can be seen in its entirety on demand through TNT.

Conceived in the years of splendor of Serial [el podcast que puso de moda el true crime], Search Party It began as a low-budget production that follows in the footsteps of a group of friends who travel nondescript through the fashionable neighborhoods of a papier-mâché city. Dory (Alia Shawkat), a timid, almost gray, young woman who doesn’t quite know what to do with her life. Ella’s boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds) is a hipster involved in the corporate world, his friend Portia (Meredith Hagner) is nothing more than a rich girl who aspires to be an actress and his friend Elliott (John Early) is discovered as a true social sheller.

From left to right: Drew, Portia, Elliott and Dory, the narcissistic protagonists of ‘Search Party’.

Faced with the disappearance of Chantal, an old university classmate, Dory finds in the first episodes a reason with which to make sense of her listless existence. In reality, she disguises her own needs under the guise of sisterhood, empathy, and other millennial values. Since that revelation, the protagonist of this satire has kept herself quite busy with the biggest reason that forces us to get out of bed every day and go out into the world: simply to survive. And, despite her apparent beta profile within the group, she drags her peers into that spiral of narcissism.

The investigations into the murder are resolved in an unexpected way, so the second season sails through remorse hitchcockian and the third becomes a judicial drama with an air of classic film noir. The fourth installment orbits around a kidnapping and an obsession, embracing the psychological terror of Stephen King in stories like misery, until reaching this fifth and final installment composed of sects, pandemics, and zombie delirium. After a very near-death experience, a mysticism is born around the group that first leads them to create their own cult, almost unintentionally, which employs influencers of social networks as their first followers. Their way of enlightening the people is through some pills that they manufacture in association with a billionaire business guru like Elon Musk played by Jeff Goldblum. How could it be otherwise, everything goes wrong.

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“The craziest thing about this transformation of the show is that, speaking as part of the generation it represents, it resonates even more deeply into its later, increasingly bizarre seasons than it did at the beginning,” Judy Berman analyzed in the magazine TIME in January, coinciding with the broadcast of the final chapter in the United States.

That low budget with which it started did not change much after the jump from the almost unknown American network TBS to a giant like HBO Max, but critical acclaim has been growing since its inception. It has even created a school. The Afterpartya classic murder mystery from Apple TV+ released in 2021, breaks away from the conventional by shooting each chapter from the point of view of one of the suspects, following the premises of a different cinematographic style, the one that best fits the personality of the narrator .

Search Party deals with issues that affect the current culture, but does not really stop to overanalyze them. He prefers to go through them in a more cathartic and comical way, ”Reynolds commented —Drew on screen— a Variety also in january. The escalation of absurd plots that its creators face in this final season makes sense: to highlight the inability of its protagonists to achieve personal growth, even if several simultaneous threats have the human race on the verge of extinction. Never has a coming-of-age story been so hectic.

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Sects, zombies and pandemic at the end of ‘Search Party’, a cult satire that embraces the millennial absurdity